I may be able to Telework a few extra days in the next couple of weeks at my Vague, But Important Work at my Vague, Yet Menacing Government Agency due to Pope Francis coming to town.
The federal government is bracing for Pope Francis’s long-awaited visit later this month to the nation’s capital.
Over the course of three days, the pope will travel around Washington, meeting with President Obama at the White House and addressing a joint session of Congress before he heads to New York and then Philadelphia.
The pope’s visit will attract thousands of Catholics hoping for a glimpse of their religion’s leader. As many as 50,000 people are expected to flood the Capitol area during his speech, and many more will crowd the National Mall.
This could create logistics headaches for the government, which has been planning for his visit for months.
In response, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced Tuesday it will treat the pope’s visit like a snow day and allow federal employees to telework from home Sept. 22-24.
“OPM strongly encourages agencies to allow employees to telework to keep the government operating while helping to minimize traffic congestion and support law enforcement efforts during this event,” the agency wrote Tuesday in a letter to agency heads.
The federal government will allow other employees to use their vacation time during the pope’s visit.
Those federal employees who do come into the office should expect long delays, the OPM noted.
Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will operate trains and buses at rush hour levels all day to keep up with demand from tourists looking for the pope. But buses may face detours.
“People will have to give themselves extra time to get wherever they want to go to see the pope,” a Metro representative told The Hill. “They should expect large crowds and longer waits.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will ground all drones during the pope’s visit to Philadelphia and is expected to take similar measures in Washington, D.C.
Secret Service and the U.S. Capitol Police are plotting additional security measures that will be taken during the pope’s visit but have yet to reveal their plans.